Where's a girl to go for her mani pedi fix?

Finding a reliable nail salon with expert nail technicians takes trial after trial with some crazy nail designs thrown in for measure. I've tried my fair share of nail salons from when O.P.I. and Essie polishes were all the rave to graduating to shellac manicure and pedicure, sometimes known as soft gel or QQ gel in Hong Kong. My tip for those who want to have Instagram-worthy manipedis, bring along a photo reference or come up with a specific idea in mind to not leave disappointed.

The two nail salons I'm going to share have their pros and cons, depending on your needs.

Barbie Nails

Thanks to Dorothy who sported the cable knit sweater mani I had been eyeing since last 2015, I rushed to Barbie Nails right after work to get my own version.

 Sporting one of my latest manis - see the cable knit sweater pattern?

Sporting one of my latest manis - see the cable knit sweater pattern?

Pros: Location. I work in Wanchai so the 5 minute dash from my office to their salon gets a tick from me. Their fuss-free, can-do attitude got them brownie points as well. No request was turned down. Cable knit sweater pattern? No problem. Tiny gold studs? We have. Little polka-dots? Sure. I arrived around 7.30pm and left just around 8.15pm which meant my ma farn manicure took 45mins. Do bear in mind I had the royal treatment of two nail technicians, Daisy and Lisa as they were close to wrapping up just before I arrived. Service is fast, the staff are friendly and because it's a budget salon, the prices are one of the best in town.

Cons: This hole-in-the-wall salon can seat only 2 customers at a time, so do book in advance to make sure you don't leave empty-handed. For what it lacks in decor, it makes up with fast, friendly service and great nail art manis. It's a no-frills type of salon so don't expect the full works like hand massages or fancy lotions. I would feel more comfortable doing a manicure instead of pedicure due to the layout of the salon.

 

Side note – there was a lady getting her face threaded beside me, if you don't have the stomach for it do be prepared.

Polish manicures start from HK$50, Shellac (QQ gel) manicures start from HK$150, a full price list can be found here

Shop F08, 1/F, Cathay 88 Lodge, 125 Wan Chai Road, Hong Kong
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday, 11am-8pm
Tel: 6770 7120

ICE NAIL

My go-to nail salon since 2011, it's moved 2 times since I started becoming a regular! Those who work in Central would likely lean towards this nail salon for convenience. Offers the typical nail services: polish, shellac, gel manicure and pedicure with nail shaping, cuticle work and callous softening.

 One of my favourite manicures - evil eye by Tracy

One of my favourite manicures - evil eye by Tracy

Pros: An upgrade in terms of decor and overall environment in comparison to Barbie nails. I feel very much at home when making my regular mani / pedi visits and leave with baby-soft feet, they are good with a foot file! It would go without saying that I would trust them with my hands and feet because they take good care of them. Usually go to Tracy with my more complicated nail art requests and she takes it all in good stride and does a fantastic job at it. Prices are reasonable and would be considered low-mid range in town.

Cons: Packed during most lunchtimes and weekends, a word of the wise, book way in advance to lock down your favourite nail technician ahead of special occasions, eg. Christmas and Chinese New Year. Due to popularity there may be a bit of waiting time if another appointment overruns.

Polish manicures start from HK$150, Shellac manicures start from HK$300. Packages offering discounted treatments that are deducted from the salon credit, start from $1,000. Nail art is quoted according to specifications

Room 505, 5/F, 1 Jubilee Street, Central, Hong Kong
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday, 12pm-8pm
Tel: 2810 7779

Some more examples from Ice Nail:

 Black and gold french manicure by Tracy

Black and gold french manicure by Tracy

 Red and blue triangle tips by Tracy

Red and blue triangle tips by Tracy